Rodgers is second only to Andy Dalton of the Bengals in Points Above Replacement.2Points scored above what would be expected with a replacement-level quarterback. Ranking and chart limited to QBs on pace to qualify for ESPN’s QBR leaderboard with highest PAR on their team. Yet the Packers have spent the fifth-smallest amount on offensive non-quarterbacks for the 2015 season. Part of this is because the Packers are fiscally responsible and aren’t spending much in general on payroll. But they also specifically rank near the bottom consistently in spending on the guys who play with their quarterback. Here’s how the Packers’ offensive spending over the past three seasons (including this one) stacks up to the rest of the league: Check out win and loss projections and playoff odds for all 32 NFL teams. The NFL salary cap alone explains some of this chart. Teams spending more on QBs often end up spending less on other offensive players, simply because they have to spend less money somewhere. But it’s striking to me just how much a lot of teams with big-name, big-money QBs lean on them. For example, the Packers, Steelers and Giants all spent less money than average on offense despite having three of the top QB salaries in the business. In general, many of the top QBs in the game probably deserve even more esteem than the considerable amount they receive already. For instance, Eli Manning should get a bit more of a break sometimes, as he receives literally the least financial support for his offensive teammates in the league.Rodgers, despite his team spending barely more money on offensive teammates than the Giants have for Eli Manning, has put up much better numbers. He has 73 TDs and 15 interceptions (counting the playoffs) since 2013, compared with 58 and 43, respectively, for Manning. What could Rodgers have done with another $60 million worth of offensive linemen?Twitter question of the weekAs usual, tweet me questions @skepticalsports and there’s a chance I’ll answer them, even if they seem a bit silly. Like this one: OK, silly, but interesting. The precise mechanism of NFL home-field advantage is still an open question. The conventional wisdom is that it has something to do with atmosphere, for example how crowd noise affects signal-calling. I can see how these kinds of effects might reach a nadir immediately after the half. But using ESPN’s play-by-play data, I tried filtering for drives by away teams that start immediately after the half, and found that they averaged a similar number of points as other drives.3Ditto for expected points for the handful of plays immediately after the half: I filtered for offensive plays by the visiting team in the first 100 seconds of the second half and found their average expected points added to be virtually identical to that for the visiting team on other plays. But for the margins we’re dealing with, that sample size is way too small to be meaningful.4I looked at about 2,200 third-quarter drives between the 2006 and 2015 seasons. So I fished around a bit and found that, broadly speaking, the third quarter is better for road teams than average.5That is, teams in the third quarter improved their chances of winning (as modeled by win probability added) by just about 1 percent per drive (over around 9,800 drives) in the third quarter (while matching modeled WPA in other quarters).Now, contra the conventional wisdom, many — though not all — statistically minded NFL analysts think home advantage is more likely to relate to officiating. So with that in mind, I looked a bit more carefully at penalties in particular. Penalties tend to favor the team on offense, but they favor the offense even more often when it’s the home team. The margins here also don’t look huge, but it’s pretty clear over more than 400,000 offensive plays: For every 100 plays a home offense runs, it normally nets about three (expected) points from all penalties called. The equivalent rate for away offenses is just more than two expected points per 100 plays. That difference adds up to about a point per game: not a large fraction of your typical scoreline, but a pretty big chunk of the total home-field advantage that we tend to see (generally around two to three points per game).But here’s the interesting bit: The home team’s advantage from penalties isn’t divided equally by quarter. Nor is it strongest in the fourth quarter, when calls are most crucial, as in basketball. The home team’s largest advantages are in the first and second quarters, with the smallest coming in the third quarter:Curious!I really don’t have any explanation for this, and at this point I would categorize my speculation as “wild.” For instance: Perhaps the second half is when refs start trying very hard not to give in to their unconscious bias toward the home team.Most empirically significant game of this weekThere are many great and potentially revealing matchups set for this weekend, including the Panthers at the Seahawks. A lot of rookie quarterback theory hinges on the fate of Cam Newton — whose rookie campaign bore the hallmark (namely lots and lots of production) of a potential all-time great, but who has had only one winning season in his first four years.But Carolina-Seattle gets only an honorable mention, because the matchup of the week is clearly the Patriots at the Colts. Since the AFC championship game thrashing by the Pats (known for a certain controversy), these two teams — and their two star quarterbacks — have been on very different trajectories. The Patriots obviously did this little thing called winning the Super Bowl, and have started this season on a tear reminiscent of their 16-0 campaign in 2007. Andrew Luck, meanwhile, has been outplayed by 40-year-old backup Matt Hasselbeck — the oldest non-kicker in football this year.After having one of the league’s strongest offenses last year, the Patriots have managed one of the league’s biggest offensive improvements this year (the biggest improvers have been the Cardinals, who with Carson Palmer back at quarterback have had the league’s second-best offense):Rodgers essentially has maintained his MVP form, while Peyton Manning seems finally to be in real decline. But the Colts and Luck, their 26-year-old quarterback, have underperformed by nearly as much as the Broncos have with 39-year-old Peyton Manning at QB.Luck, who is practically the patron saint of Skeptical Football, is expected to return. Given the result the last time these two teams met, the Patriots are expected to romp. Whether that happens or not, we should learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of some of the most important figures and phenomena in the sport today.Reminder: If you tweet questions to me @skepticalsports, there is a non-zero chance that I’ll answer them here.Charts by Ella Koeze and Reuben Fischer-Baum. Stop the presses! Last Sunday, the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers threw two interceptions, his first in Green Bay since December 2012. Granted, they were completely inconsequential, and at least the first was pretty much a freak accident — his pass deflected off a linebacker — but Rodgers accepted at least some of the blame for them all the same. Despite the embarrassment, his touchdown-to-interception ratio remains the stuff of legend. Now in his eighth year as a starter, he has 66 interceptions for his career, along with 262 touchdowns (counting the playoffs). Normally, I’m not impressed by such stats. As I wrote last year (and have defended on numerous occasions), I think that his incredibly low interception rate is in part the result of a potentially costly unwillingness to gamble — particularly in situations where his team is down multiple scores late. I haven’t changed my mind.But I don’t think this quirk of Rodgers substantially diminishes his value. Or put another way, he is so valuable to begin with that even if he’s slightly too risk-averse, it’s largely irrelevant. Of course, Rogers is still relatively young (he’ll turn 32 in December), and he hasn’t had to deal with the ups and downs of a full career yet, either. But he’s a huge outlier, even for a quarterback at this stage of his career. For example, here is how he has accumulated touchdowns relative to interceptions game by game for his career, compared to every QB in NFL regular-season history since 1960:For most quarterbacks, losing causes interceptions just as much as interceptions cause losing. Rodgers is no different; he’d be even more valuable if he made certain win-maximizing adjustments (even though they might hurt his statistics a bit). But the steepness of Rodgers’s rise has no parallel. Criticizing him for it is a bit like criticizing Bill Belichick for not going for it enough on fourth down, or criticizing Lionel Messi for playing tiki-taka football so much instead of trading as many possessions as possible with his opponents. That is, they’re still pretty much the best at what they do, but could possibly be doing a little bit better.There’s one more reason to give Rodgers the benefit of any (skeptical) doubt. Which brings us to our …Chart(s) of the WeekNaturally, a quarterback’s ability to win games is affected by his team’s running game, defense, special teams, coaching and everything else. Even his broader statistical portfolio is largely a team accomplishment, and untangling everyone’s contributions can be nearly impossible. But one indicator of the strength of a quarterback’s teammates is money paid on their salaries. Some teams spend lavishly to surround their quarterbacks with high-powered offensive teammates.1Whether NFL teams are any good at this is a different question. The Packers, not so much: read more

UPDATE (Feb. 25, 4:58 p.m.): Since publication of this post, the Last Man organizers have acknowledged that their database did not include one contestant who was still viable in the competition. She has since been eliminated, but the numbers in this post would be slightly different if the database had been correct at the time of publication. Eighty-five percent of participants have already been felled by what competitors call “The Knowledge,”2Not to be confused with “The Knowledge.” according to the Last Man website. Sixteen percent of all players had, despite their best efforts, learned who won the Super Bowl by midnight on the night of the game (Feb. 7).3I wasn’t a declared player, but I made it only to 9:17 a.m. the day after the game, by which point 27 percent of players had learned the result, too. By the end of the next day, more than half of the competitors had lost their blissful ignorance. The more time that passes, the safer the players are; only about a quarter of competitors who made it through the first post-Super Bowl week perished in the second. Now, as you can see in the chart above, the survivor curve is more like a plateau.But that’s no reason for the survivors to let down their guard. They could still be taken out by the kind of thing that has felled other competitors — phone calls, cupcakes, baby photos, the usual. And it’s not always just the Last Manners who suffer when they lose: One competitor learned the Super Bowl winner via “email from treacherous husband I thought I could trust.” And that husband may find that the guilt of being the spoiler weighs on him for longer than The Knowledge haunts his spouse. It’s been more than two weeks since the Super Bowl, and there are still at least 29 people1As of Sunday, when the data was last updated. who don’t know who won. Those 29 are the recorded survivors of the Last Man challenge, a war-of-attrition, just-for-glory competition to be the last person in the U.S. (or at least in the challenge’s database) unaware of who won Super Bowl 50. (For all of you who still don’t know who won, this post is a safe space.) read more

How will your favorite NBA team do this year? See all of our predictions for the 2016-17 season » There is little reason for the casual NBA fan to pay attention to the Denver Nuggets this season. They are a bad-to-mediocre team with a ceiling of mediocre-yet-interesting. Where they fall along that spectrum will probably depend on what becomes of Emmanuel Mudiay.Mudiay, who skipped college ball in favor of getting paid as a pro in China, looked like a steal as the No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 draft. He walked into the starting point-guard position in his rookie season and went on to play 30 minutes of horror-show basketball every night. And, yet, because of the quirks of his position, his obvious talent and some promising stats papered over by the all-around badness, Mudiay remains a tantalizing prospect despite having one of the worst rookie seasons in recent memory.The baseline stats belie just how bad he was: Mudiay averaged 12.8 points and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 36 percent from the floor and 32 percent from behind the arc. Dig a little deeper and it starts to look worse: His turnover rate was just a hair under 18 percent, and he finished the year with his win shares per 48 at a tidy -0.049. That’s not good! It is in fact very bad!How does a supposed phenom have a season that bad? By having no idea how to put the ball in the basket. Among qualified players, Mudiay ranked dead last in both effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage. He somehow managed to put up worse shooting numbers than Kobe Bryant, who spent the season heaving up as many shots as possible despite his body being held together by bungee cords. Bryant at least had the excuse of being a shameless gunner and 700 years old. Mudiay managed to be a black hole despite taking 200 fewer shots than Old Man Bryant. This isn’t to say that Nuggets fans should be feeling great about Mudiay’s future as he heads into his second season running the offense. The inclusion of Westbrook, Mike Conley and John Wall in the comparable players section of his CARMELO comps will surely induce a few fist pumps, but the sight of Sebastian Telfair and Brandon Jennings should leave them in a cold sweat.Whether Mudiay is able to overcome his growing pains and carry his second-half improvements into this season won’t mean much for the Nuggets’ immediate future — they’re likely a long shot for the playoffs even if Mudiay is great — but it means everything for their long-term plans. Aside from Mudiay and Nikola Jokic, this is a roster almost entirely made up of solid but uninspiring players. Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Will Barton are fine basketball players, but they aren’t a group that’s equipped to turn the Nuggets into a consistent playoff contender.In the coming years, the Nuggets will have to choose which of their good-but-not-great players are worth keeping around and which are better jettisoned. But none of those decisions will matter if the team can’t find a true star or two to anchor the roster. Jokic looks like he’s ready to play the part, but so much still depends on what becomes of Mudiay. At this point, one timeline sees him developing into an oversized point guard with a passable jumper who can use his speed, strength and vision to control the game. The darker timelines see him slogging through a disappointing NBA career, launching jumpers from a trebuchet and never quite catching onto the rhythm of the game. Mudiay will be much closer to one of those destinies at the conclusion of this season, which means it’s probably going to be a very good or very bad year for the Nuggets.Check out our NBA predictions. An optimist would point out that Mudiay’s shooting improved in the second half of the season; he shot 39 percent from the floor and 36 percent from 3-point range after the All-Star break. A pessimist would dunk on that optimist’s head by reminding everyone that shooting was far from Mudiay’s only problem — he created just 0.64 points per possession for his team as a pick-and-roll ball-handler last season, a rate that was nearly doubled up by Steph Curry (1.11) and lagged behind less lofty competition like Jimmy Butler (0.89) and Jamal Crawford (0.82).Rookies often take a while to find their stroke — Kris Dunn shot 24.2 percent over his last five preseason games — but what makes Mudiay’s shooting stats so ugly is that they weren’t just the result of a broken jumper. He struggled just as much around the basket. He made only 44 percent of the shots he took less than five feet from the rim, a full 15 points below the league average. According to NBA.com, Mudiay made 7.6 drives to the basket per game and converted just 38 percent of the shots he took at the end of those drives. This would maybe be understandable if Mudiay were the size of, say, Earl Boykins and built like a dachshund, but he’s a 6-foot-5 point guard who weighs 200 pounds. Driving to the hoop and finishing strong is supposed to be, like, his whole thing.If Mudiay were a center or power forward coming off a rookie season this rotten, I imagine that he would have already been written off as an Anthony Bennett-style bust, but point guards are evaluated a little differently. The inherent difficulties of the position are going to produce some ugly statistics in the first season, and the problems that rookie point guards have — unfamiliarity with the speed of the NBA, poor shooting, high turnover rate — are usually the kinds of problems that can be solved. Remember when Russell Westbrook’s effective field goal percentage was .414 in his first season? That’s why FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO projection model ranks guys like Marcus Smart and Elfrid Payton so highly.This goes a long way toward explaining why CARMELO is relatively bullish on Mudiay as well, projecting him to dig his way out of the basement and be a solid contributor within a few seasons: And don’t forget that for all Mudiay’s failings, he’s had his moments. It was highlights like this that made him a lottery pick to begin with: read more

Ohio State redshirt junior guard Kam Williams (15) and sophomore guard C.J. Jackson walk down the floor late in the second half against Nebraska on Feb. 18 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorThe NBA released a list of early entry candidates for the 2017 NBA draft on Tuesday, and among those names was Ohio State redshirt junior shooting guard Kam Williams.The fourth-year guard set career-highs across the board, averaging 30.7 minutes, 9.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game in his first season as the regular point guard while starting in 29 of his team’s 32 games. He shot .391 from the field, including a .376 success percentage from beyond the arc. Williams also led the team shooting 91.9 percent (34-for-37) from the free-throw line.Williams is the second Buckeye player on this list, joining junior center Trevor Thompson who reportedly declared for the draft on March 14. read more

1 Sep / 2019

RAMBLING ROSE

first_imgHello everyone, I just don’t know what to say; such sad news about so many of our musicians and friends of musicians and the community. I promise you I am not starting an obituary section of the Rambling Rose column. It is unbelievable. I have never seen anything like it. As you see from my pictures, in the recent weeks we have lost many of our musical artists and family members.  May God give those left to mourn peace. Please keep them in your prayers.(From left to right) Kenneth Burton, the husband of Joyce Burton passed away last week; Michele Anderson, the sister of Baltimore’s own retired song stylist, “Lady Rebecca” passed away last week; Willa Bland, the founder of Flair Studio of Dance and Modeling and the mother of Andrea Bland-Travis passed away last week; and Romaine Rucks, the wife of Baltimore’s own keyboardist Bobby Rucks passed away last week.I would like to include the sick and shut-ins who are known very well in our community who also need your prayers; those who are in the hospital or who had surgery and are recuperating at home. They include, musician and my masonic brother, PGP Richard V. Johnson, who was admitted to Mercy Hospital last week and Judson Hughes, long time member of Arch Social Club had heart surgery, but is at home recuperating.John Lamkin Favorites Jazz Quintet featuring John Lamkin II on trumpet and flugelhorn; Michael Hairston on sax; Justin Taylor on piano, Michael Graham on bass and Jesse Moody on drums will perform on March 2 and Saturday 3, 9 p.m-11 p.m. at the Twins Jazz, 1344 U. Street NW in Washington, DC.St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church presents “Seven Last Words according to Jazz,” featuring the Greg Hatza Organization on March 4, at 3 p.m. at St. Gregory’s, 1542 N. Gilmor Street in Baltimore. Fish dinners on sale. For more information, call 410-298-5602.Jazz Expressways Foundation, will host their Jazz Breakfast Show featuring Nevitta Ruddy and Company on March 10, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Forest Park Senior Center, 4801 Liberty Heights Ave. Tickets include Buffet breakfast, vendors, dancing, BYOB and free set-ups.Well, my dear friends, make sure you check out the John Lamkin show at the Twins Jazz Club in DC, nothing more to report at this time or have room in my column for this week. I promise next time hopefully, more positive things to talk about. In the meantime, be good to each other and remember if you need me, call me at 410-833-9474 or email me at rosapryor@aol.com. Until the next time, I’m musically yours.last_img read more

first_imgKolkata: A Bangladeshi national has been arrested at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) Airport, Kolkata, with a huge amount of foreign currency on Saturday morning. Suspicion grew within the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel during the baggage checking as the currency was visible at the time of scanning.According to CISF authority, at around 11 am, when baggage checking for a Dhaka-bound flight was in progress, an on-duty CISF officer noticed a suspicious image on the scanner screen. To investigate the matter, the CISF personnel decided to check the baggage physically. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe passenger, identified as Alam Shah, was also detained for inquiry. After opening the baggage, no suspicious items could be located. But the CISF personnel was not convinced as the bag seemed unusually heavy in respect of the items that were packed inside. The items inside the baggage were then taken out and was passed through the scanner again. It was found that a false compartment had been created at the bottom of the bag. Immediately, the portion was cut open and the huge amount of US dollars were found. During counting, it was revealed that Shah was carrying US $70,000 approximately worth Rs 47.42 lakh. Shah was later handed over to the Customs officials for further action.last_img read more

first_img Categories: Tedder News 28Sep Rep. Tedder recognizes Michigan State Fair scholarship winner State Rep. Jim Tedder today welcomed a recipient of the Michigan State Fair Urban and Rural Scholarship to the House of Representatives. Clarkston resident Kimberly Suran was among the 60 scholarship winners that were recognized on the House floor.“I’m honored to welcome such a talented group of students to the House today for this very special occasion,” Rep. Tedder said. “Meeting and talking with Kimberly has been a great experience. She definitely has a bright future ahead of her.”The Michigan State Fair Urban and Rural Scholarship recognizes young people across the state who make a difference in the cities, towns and villages by planting and harvesting garden space in their local neighborhoods. Scholarship recipients received a total of $40,000 divided between four areas of competition: Animal/Livestock, Home Arts, Agriculture, and Urban/Rural Farming.last_img read more

first_imgSpanish cable operator Ono has announced the first major software upgrade for its TiVo next generation service.New software features include an upgrade from two to three tuners, and an enhanced video-on-demand offering that integrates assets from ONO’s Videoclub library into its search feature. Users will also be able to go back in time in the TV guide to view programmes that have already aired.The TiVo platform is now available across Ono’s entire network of six million homes passed following phased launches in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia.Guillermo Mercader, chief operating officer of residential for ONO, said, “TiVo has changed the way ONO customers think of television; they have fully embraced this new world of on demand and internet-delivered content and we are thrilled to work with TiVo to keep this solution on the cutting edge.  ONO is thrilled to see the positive impact that TiVo is having on customer satisfaction, clearly enabling ONO to provide the most compelling TV offering in Spain.”last_img read more

first_imgVodafone Portugal has launched a new advanced TV service featuring intelligent voice search, something they claim as a first for the Portuguese market, and a dedicated kids portal.The company said that the new interface includes an intelligent voice-driven search engine that uses natural language recognition and combines a number of search criteria including the name of a title, the names of actors, date, content genre and others.Vodafone is also offers a dedicated kids content area with a parental control system that allows parents to set sleep times when access to content is blocked.The operator says its new offering provides a simpler, intuitive and intelligent interface, including features such as the ability to resume viewing at the point when it was interrupted.The new interfaces includes access to HBO and YouTube, the two key applications on the current service, as well as the recently launched public services feature.The interface is available to users of the operator’s VBox 4K, its new decoder.“The main objective of Vodafone is to always give its customers what they want to see, with the best television experience, powered by the best telecommunications network in the market. At a time when consumers’ habits are changing, Vodafone is following the trends and presenting a television service for everyone, but with an innovative user interface that is more immersive and geared towards content,” said António Margato, director of consumer marketing at Vodafone Portugal.last_img read more

first_img France made cash transactions over €1,000 illegal, down from the previous limit of €3,000. The War on Cash is a favorite pet project of the economic central planners. They want to eliminate hand-to-hand currency so that governments can document, control, and tax everything. This is why they’re lowering the threshold for mandatory reporting of cash transactions and, in some instances, simply making it illegal to pay cash. In the U.S., central planners ratchet up the War on Cash every time the government declares a made-up war on something else…a war on crime, a war on drugs, a war on poverty, a war on terror… They all end with more government intrusion into your financial affairs. Thanks to these made-up wars, the U.S. government is imposing an increasing number of regulations on cash transactions. Try withdrawing more than $10,000 in cash from your bank. They’ll treat you like a criminal or terrorist. The Federal Reserve is at the center of the War on Cash. Its weapons are inflation and control over the currency denominations. Take the $100 note, for example. It’s the largest bill in circulation today. This was not always the case. At one point, the U.S. had $500, $1,000, $5,000, and even $10,000 notes. But the government eliminated these large notes in 1969 under the pretext of fighting the War on Some Drugs. Since then, the $100 note has been the largest. But it has far less purchasing power than it did in 1969. Decades of rampant money printing have inflated the dollar. Today, a $100 note buys less than a $20 note did in 1969. Even though the Federal Reserve has devalued the dollar over 80% since 1969, it still refuses to issue notes larger than $100. This makes it inconvenient to use cash for large transactions, which forces people to use electronic payment methods. This, of course, is what the U.S. government wants. It’s exactly like Ron Paul said: “The cashless society is the IRS’s dream: total knowledge of, and control over, the finances of every single American.” Policymakers or Central Planners? On stories related to the War on Cash, you may have noticed that the mainstream media often uses the word “policymakers,” as in “policymakers have decided to keep interest rates at record low levels.” When the media uses “policymakers,” they are often referring to central bank officials. It’s a curious word choice. As far as I can tell, there is no difference between a policymaker and central planner. Most people who want to live in a free society agree that central planning is not a good idea. So the media uses a different word to put a more neutral spin on things. To help you think more clearly, I suggest substituting “central planners” every time you see “policymakers.” Switzerland proposed banning cash payments in excess of 100,000 francs; Russia banned cash transactions over $10,000; Recommended Links The World’s First Cashless Society In 1661, Sweden became the first country in Europe to issue paper money. Now it’s probably going to be the first in the world to eliminate it. Sweden has already phased out most cash transactions. According to Credit Suisse, 80% of all purchases in Sweden are electronic and don’t involve cash. And that figure is rising. If the trend continues – and there is nothing to suggest it won’t – Sweden could soon be the world’s first cashless society. Sweden’s supply of physical currency has dropped over 50% in the last six years. A couple of major Swedish banks no longer carry cash. Virtually all Swedes pay for candy bars and coffee electronically. Even homeless street vendors use mobile card readers. Plus, an increasing number of government restrictions are encouraging Swedes to dump cash. The pretexts are familiar…fighting terrorism, money laundering, etc. In effect, these restrictions make it inconvenient to use cash, so people don’t. So far, Swedes have passively accepted the government and banks’ drive to eliminate cash. The push to destroy their financial privacy doesn’t seem to bother them. This is likely because the average Swede places an unreasonable amount of trust in government and financial institutions. Their trust is certainly misplaced. On top of the obvious privacy concerns, eliminating cash enables the central planners’ latest gimmick to goose the economy: Negative interest rates. Making The Negative Interest Rate Scam Possible Sweden, Denmark, and Switzerland all have negative interest rates. Negative interest rates mean the lender literally pays the borrower for the privilege of lending him money. It’s a bizarre, upside down concept. But negative rates are not some European anomaly. The Federal Reserve discussed the possibility of using negative interest rates in the U.S. at its last meeting. Negative rates could not exist in a free market. They destroy the impetus to save and build capital, which is the basis of prosperity. When you deposit money in a bank, you are lending money to the bank. However, with negative rates you don’t earn interest. Instead, you pay the bank. If you don’t like that plan, you can certainly stash your cash under the mattress. As a practical matter, this limits how far governments and central banks can go with negative interest rates. The more it costs to store money at the bank, the less inclined people are to do it. Of course, central planners don’t want you to withdraw money from the bank. This is a big reason why they want to eliminate cash…so you can’t. As long as your money stays in the bank, it’s vulnerable to the sting of negative interest rates and also helps to prop up the unsound fractional reserve banking system. If you can’t withdraw your money as cash, you have two choices: You can deal with negative interest rates…or you can spend your money. Ultimately, that’s what our Keynesian central planners want. They are using negative interest rates and the War on Cash to force you to spend and “stimulate” the economy. If you ask me, these radical and insane measures are a sign of desperation. The War on Cash and negative interest rates are huge threats to your financial security. Central planners are playing with fire and inviting a currency catastrophe. Most people have no idea what really happens when a currency collapses, let alone how to prepare… How will you protect your savings in the event of a currency crisis? This just-released video will show you exactly how. Click here to watch it now. Regards, Nick Giambruno Don’t Put a Penny in Tech Stocks Until You Hear What This Insider Has to Say Most tech giants take YEARS to be valued at $1 billion. But in 2014, an early stage start-up shot from $0 to $1 billion in just EIGHT MONTHS. All thanks to a new technological force on track to revolutionize the tech industry… and send profits soaring exponentially… starting next year. In a live event on Wednesday, December 2, at 8 p.m. Eastern, Bill Bonner’s resident tech expert will explain everything you need to know. Investors who act now could see exponential profits. Don’t miss out… — Mexico made cash payments of more than 200,000 pesos illegal; Uruguay banned cash transactions over $5,000; and – Editor’s Note: Your wealth and privacy could be collateral damage in a war you probably haven’t heard of until now… In this special edition of the Casey Daily Dispatch, our colleague Nick Giambruno, editor of Crisis Speculator, explains how central planners around the globe are waging this hidden war and what you should do to protect yourself. ———— Central planners around the world are waging a War on Cash. In just the last few years: Italy made cash transactions over €1,000 illegal; Big warning signs U.S. is the next Greece 70-year-old multimillionaire reveals #1 step to survive America’s looming currency crisis. Spain banned cash transactions over €2,500;last_img read more

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 8 2019The field of genetic sequencing has undergone a dramatic revolution over the past 20 years. In 2001 the first copy of the three billion base pairs that assemble the human genome was published. Since then, the price of genetic sequencing has dramatically declined, and sequencing of DNA fragments has become routine in biology and medical laboratories. Many studies focus on identification of genetic patterns and genes related to normal functions and disease. However, certain genomic regions are still poorly characterized.In a study published today in the journal Nature Communications, a team of researchers, led by Prof. Gur Yaari, of the Alexander Kofkin Faculty of Engineering at Bar-Ilan University, reveals a novel computational tool it has developed to study variations in genes that determine the immune system’s dynamics and used to analyze genetic variation among 100 individuals.Current knowledge of the regions which determine the immune system’s function is very limited. The reason for this is the repetitive structure of those regions, which hinders mapping of short DNA reads to their exact location within these regions. “Despite limited knowledge about those regions, they are critically important for a deeper understanding of the immune system, as well as for prediction of diseases and development of novel tools for personalized medicine in cancer, inflammation, autoimmune diseases, allergies and infectious diseases,” says Prof. Yaari.Our immune system can adapt itself to countless threats (pathogens), even ones that continuously evolve. “Among other mechanisms, this is done through a huge repertoire of receptors expressed by B and T white blood cells,” explains Moriah Gidoni, a doctoral student who participated in the study. “The human body contains tens of billions of B cells, each of which expresses a different antibody receptor that can bind a different pathogen. How can such a huge diversity of antibodies be achieved, when the genomic regions encoding for antibodies are relatively short? Diversity is achieved by each B cell expressing only a small number of DNA fragments that are randomly chosen from the entire region, which together encode for a complete antibody.”Related StoriesResearchers completely eliminate all traces of HIV from infected miceScientists discover rare autoimmune disease triggered by testicular cancerMathematical model helps identify determinants of persistent MRSA bacteremiaSimilar to other human characteristics, the genomic region encoding the immune receptors changes between people, and each person has two such regions that are inherited from the mother and the father. The fragments encoding each antibody are selected in each B cell from only one chromosome, and therefore it is highly valuable to map the fragments that are found on each chromosome, which are the pool from which that person is able to encode antibodies. For example, a person who is missing certain fragments is unable to produce certain antibodies, which can hinder his ability to fight a certain pathogen, making him more susceptible to the disease caused by the pathogen.According to the researchers an indirect way to learn about the genetic variations in these regions is to read genetic sequences of mature B cells after they have already chosen which fragments they express, and from these data to infer the genetic variety within each person.The analysis showed a much richer than expected pattern of deletions and duplications of many genomic regions. Prof. Yaari, who led the study, says: “Despite the critical importance of these genomic regions for our understanding of the immune system and a wide variety of diseases, our knowledge so far has been limited to what was under the standard sequencing lamppost. Computational tools like the one recently developed by our group enable a completely different point of view on this very important genomic region that contains a large wealth of valuable biological and medical information.” Source:https://www1.biu.ac.il/last_img read more

first_img Source:https://moffitt.org/newsroom/press-release-archive/2019/moffitt-cancer-center-researchers-identify-mechanism-of-resistance-to-braf-inhibitors-in-melanoma/ Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 15 2019Melanoma is one of the most aggressive types of skin cancer, but recent advances in targeted therapies have improved the prognosis for many patients. Unfortunately, for some patients these positive outcomes are not long lasting, due to the development of drug resistance and tumor recurrence. Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which melanoma cells become resistant to the commonly used drugs that target the BRAF protein and its signaling pathway. Their study was published online today by the journal Cancer Research.One of the most common genetic mutations found in melanoma is alteration of the BRAF gene. Mutations in BRAF are found in approximately 50 percent of all melanomas, leading to increased cell proliferation and survival. Several drugs are available that target BRAF and a downstream gene named MEK that cooperates with BRAF in cancer development. These drugs have resulted in significant improvements in patient outcomes; however, many patients eventually develop drug resistance.Related StoriesNuclear medicine imaging assesses melanoma patients’ response to immunotherapyNew liquid biopsy technique used to assess melanoma progressionGroundbreaking AI technology could predict melanoma metastasisMoffitt researchers conducted a series of laboratory experiments with cell lines and mouse models to determine how melanoma becomes resistant to these commonly used drugs. They discovered that melanoma cells that are resistant to BRAF inhibitors undergo a similar response mechanism as cells treated with stress-inducing factors, such as UV radiation and low oxygen. During each of these conditions, the cells increased expression of the protein histone deacetylase 8 (HDAC8).HDACs are proteins that regulate the expression level and activity of other proteins within the cell. HDACs are often deregulated in cancer and several drugs that target HDACs are approved for the treatment of different types of cancer. The researchers found that HDAC8 stimulated the activity of the AP-1 transcription factor that subsequently increased the expression of genes that are involved in cell motility and invasion.”Our work provides the first evidence that HDAC8 activity is increased in responses to multiple, diverse cellular stresses, and that this in turn initiates a transcriptional program that is associated with increased melanoma cell survival,” explained Keiran Smalley, Ph.D., director of the Donald A. Adams Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center of Excellence at Moffitt.This link between HDAC8 and drug resistance suggested to the researchers that drugs targeting HDACs may be able to overcome cellular resistance mechanisms to BRAF inhibitors. The researchers performed a series of mouse experiments and found that co-treatment with both HDAC and BRAF inhibitors inhibited melanoma tumor growth better than either agent alone.The researchers hope their work will lead to clinical studies that will examine the potential of HDAC inhibitors to prevent the development of drug resistance in melanoma. “These findings provide a strong rationale to pursue the development of more selective and potent HDAC8 inhibitors for future evaluation as drugs that can limit phenotype switching and therapeutic escape in melanoma,” said Smalley.last_img read more

first_img Source:BfR Federal Institute for Risk Assessment Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 16 2019Carbofuran is a plant protection product which can be used against certain insects, mites, ticks and nematodes. On the basis of the amount of the carbofuran residues and estimated dietary intake of red chilies, an exceedance of the acute reference dose (ARfD) is not to be expected for children or adults. The ARfD describes the quantity of a substance per kilogram of body weight that consumers can ingest with their food in one meal or in several meals spread over one day without any recognisable effect on health. The ARfD is therefore a limit value for risk assessment in relation to short-term intake.Other plant protection products were also detected in the 10 samples from the manufacturer (2308 grams in total), but their contribution is negligible in relation to carbofuran so that no health risk is to be expected from them either. As the number of samples is small, the results cannot be generalised for red chili.last_img read more

first_img“The goal of my research group is a form of mobility that combines the convenience of a private car with the sustainability of public transport.” In other words, a kind of Uber, but driverless and therefore much more economical and available. Plus – thanks to electrification and better capacity use – a solution that offers significantly lower energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Right now, people use private cars, on average, just 5 percent of the time, which means the cars spend the remaining 95 percent of the time standing idle in car parks and garages or on the street. This makes no sense in terms of sustainability, urban development or resource efficiency.Frazzoli’s start-up, NuTonomy, which develops control software for autonomous vehicles, began drawing up plans to test self-driving cars in Singapore back in 2014. At around the same time, the professor published an article in which he investigated how replacing all the private vehicles in the 719-square-kilometre city-state with shared, self-driving vehicles would affect traffic volumes. His results showed that the mobility needs of Singapore’s entire population could be met with some 40 percent of the vehicles (350,000 instead of 800,000).One year later, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong unveiled his vision of a “car-lite future” based on autonomous vehicles, the expansion of public transport and the fostering of slow traffic such as walking and cycling. With 5.5 million inhabitants and a population density of 7,697 people per square kilometre – compared with Switzerland’s figure of 203 – Singapore is more dependent on efficient transport than any other major metropolitan area.That is why Singapore has spent years trying to crack down on demand for private cars by imposing high taxes and charging up to 70,000 dollars for the certificates of entitlement required to own a vehicle. More than 10 companies are currently testing their systems in a two-hectare test facility at Nanyang Technological University in the western part of Singapore Island. And plans are already in place to operate the first self-driving buses outside rush hours in three of the city’s suburbs starting in 2022.Simulating transformationPieter Fourie works in a sunlit office on the sixth floor of the CREATE Tower, a building encased in vertical foliage at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Here, he conducts research into the cities of the future on behalf of ETH Zurich’s Future Cities Laboratory. Fourie heads up the Engaging Mobility project, which brought together government authorities and universities at a preliminary workshop in July 2017. The goal was to define the basic conditions required to implement city-wide, on-demand mobility using autonomous cars and buses.The researchers used the results of the workshop to formulate key research questions such as: What do we do with the current supply of parking spaces if the majority of vehicles are constantly on the road? Do we need to redefine the layout of our roads? And what effect will automated, electrified transport have on existing public transport, energy requirements and safety?Fourie explores these and similar issues using the MATSim simulation platform developed by a group led by Professor Kay Axhausen at ETH Zurich’s Institute for Transport Planning and Systems. MATSim is agent-based, which means the simulation is driven by the behaviour of individual agents rather than by overarching rules. “On the basis of Singapore’s most recent demographics, we are modelling a synthetic population that is as close as possible to the real one,” Fourie says.Within this population, each individual agent exhibits a certain mobility behaviour and has a specific destination based on real-life traffic data. Fourie is now at the stage of tinkering with the underlying conditions, including the number of vehicles employed, their size, the maximum permissible waiting times for passengers, the availability of parking spaces and a variety of different traffic flows. He then lets the synthetic population loose on the simulation for 24 hours. The system automatically evaluates how efficiently the individual agents were able to reach their destinations in each scenario.Right now, Fourie’s team is programming these kinds of simulations for the waterfront area of Tanjong Pagar, a district of some 2 square kilometres in the western part of Singapore. This site is currently being converted from a container terminal into a residential and commercial area. Fourie has already simulated more than 200,000 trips involving 60,000 individual agents. This included calculating how big the fleet of autonomous vehicles would need to be and how many kilometres the vehicles would have to cover to achieve an equivalent level of service in three different street typologies.The researchers also simulated four different parking strategies for a fleet of 4-, 10- and 20-seater vehicles. Preliminary results suggest that the transport system is at its most efficient if the shared vehicles are allowed to park in the street when they stop receiving requests for pick-ups. That holds true even if it means temporarily reducing the roadway capacity by one lane. The researchers’ findings also suggest that having fewer, but correspondingly larger, pick-up and drop-off stations has a favourable impact on traffic flow by reducing the detours cars have to take to collect passengers. The stations also need to be big enough to accommodate different vehicle sizes. Fourie is hoping to have these kinds of simulations up and running for the entire island as early as next year.Decision-making dilemmasDespite these rapid developments in Singapore and the fledgling services coming online in Las Vegas, Emilio Frazzoli still sees plenty of challenges ahead, especially when it comes to dealing with chaotic environments. “We still don’t know exactly how autonomous vehicles should behave in traffic,” he says, explaining that this involves dozens of decision-making dilemmas that are an integral part of everyday traffic situations. For example, should a self-driving car cross a double line in order to avoid a potential collision? And what if an innocent road user is injured as a result of a manoeuvre designed to save a culpable driver from a fatal crash? These are the kinds of decisions that have to be defined when programming control algorithms. One key focus of Frazzoli’s current research is therefore the “rulebooks” that should be used to prioritise these various decision-making criteria in control algorithms. At the top of the hierarchy are rules designed to ensure road users’ safety. At the bottom are rules designed to enhance passenger comfort.In a recent article, Frazzoli and his team estimated that it would take 200 rules in 12 hierarchy groups to prepare vehicles for every possible scenario, including low-priority rules such as not frightening animals on the edge of the road. Frazzoli feels the time has come for a broader public debate on autonomous driving: “The coding of safety and liability rules is not something we should simply leave in the hands of engineers working for private companies”. Ultimately, he argues, it is in everyone’s interest to incorporate our new, virtual drivers into urban traffic as smoothly as possible – much like we do with new human drivers, but with the greater levels of safety, predictability and efficiency that autonomous vehicles offer. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Car sharing with autonomous vehicles could improve cities in many ways. Singapore is taking a pioneering role, working with ETH researchers to explore the potential of personalised, electrified and automated public transport. Provided by ETH Zurich Explore further Singapore to deploy driverless buses from 2022: minister Emilio Frazzoli’s start-up NuTonomy develops control software for autonomous vehicles and uses Singapore as a test bed. Credit: NuTonomy Citation: Algorithms take the wheel (2018, December 18) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-12-algorithms-wheel.html The future of mobility is measured in milestones: this February, Google subsidiary Waymo announced that its fleet of self-driving cars had covered over 8 million kilometres on public roads. This came shortly after Uber’s announcement that it had completed 3 million kilometres of autonomous driving. If industry has its way, then we will soon be sharing all our streets with vehicles controlled by algorithms instead of drivers. But is that a realistic scenario? Or simply a rose-tinted vision of a tech-driven future?We asked one of the leading experts in this field, Italian researcher Emilio Frazzoli, Professor of Dynamic Systems and Control at ETH Zurich since October 2016. “It all depends what level of autonomous mobility you have in mind,” he replies. “I would say it will be at least another 15 years before you can buy a self-driving car from a dealer. But if you mean a limit-ed kind of car sharing, then it’s already happening.” In fact, this latter concept is a core part of Frazzoli’s own research. In mid-2018, the ride sharing company Lyft launched a service on the Las Vegas Strip that allows anyone to book one of a fleet of 30 BMWs through its app. The driverless cars are controlled by algorithms developed by vehicle technology company Aptiv, which acquired NuTonomy – the start-up founded by Frazzoli – in October 2017.Rethinking urban mobilityBefore joining ETH, Frazzoli spent ten years as a professor at the prestigious MIT in Boston. Autonomous systems – initially aircraft and drones – were the focus of his work right from the start. “The technical side of that was generally pretty cool, but it wasn’t really doing much to help solve the challenges society is facing.” In 2009, he found himself pondering a fundamental question: “Back then, the main argument for conducting research into self-driving cars was the idea that they would make road traffic safer.” While acknowledging the truth of that statement, at least in the long term, Frazzoli realised there was potentially a much larger, medium-term benefit to be gained from completely rethinking the issue of individual mobility for city dwellers.last_img read more

first_img Related News Tennis 10 Jul 2019 Factbox: Roger Federer versus Kei Nishikori Related News {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} LONDON (Reuters) – As Roger Federer prepares to take on Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s Wimbledon final, he knows there is little he can do now to improve his chances of winning a 21st Grand Slam title — all the work has been done.”This is like a school,” the Swiss 37-year-old said. “The day of the test, you’re not going to read… many books that day. You don’t have the time anyhow.”It’s quite clear the work was done way before. It’s been a rock solid year (for me)… the stars are aligned right now. From that standpoint I can go into the match very confident.”With eight Wimbledon titles in his locker, Federer has every right to be confident. But Djokovic is himself a four-times champion, and can equal the great Bjorn Borg with victory for a fifth crown.center_img Tennis 10 Jul 2019 Highlights: Wimbledon day nine Tennis 09 Jul 2019 Pella downs Raonic to reach first major quarter-final More importantly, the Serb beat Federer in the final here in 2014 and 2015.”We all know how good he is anywhere, but especially here,” Djokovic said of the Swiss.”This surface complements his game very much. He loves to play very fast. Takes away the time from his opponent. Just doesn’t give you any same looks.”He just rushes you to everything. So for players maybe like Nadal or myself that like to have a little more time, it’s a constant pressure that you have to deal with.”I’ve played with Roger in some epic finals here a couple years in a row, so I know what to expect. Of course, I’m going to be excited and nervous and everything that you can think of.”I’m going to do my best to control that in some way and be able to portray my best tennis in a balanced, hopefully, state throughout the match.”Federer was sublime in beating Rafa Nadal in Friday’s semi-final, whereas Djokovic was not tested nearly so much against Roberto Bautista Agut.The Swiss will need to match those heights again on Sunday to end a four-match losing streak against Sunday’s opponent.It would be unwise to bet against him managing that, but many commentators make top seed Djokovic the favourite.”For Sunday’s match, it’s hard to not see Novak as a pretty strong, clear favourite for the title because Federer’s weapon is probably his serve, and Novak finds a way to neutralise that,” said former world number one Mats Wilander.”Federer’s serve is not that hard, but well placed… so Novak will get a play on most serves and then he’s in the rally straight away.”If you look at everything, then you say that the weakest part of Djokovic’s game is as good as Federer’s, he’s stronger in a couple of places such as movement, the return of serve and the backhand. I think it’s going to be tough. I think Djokovic is going to feel pressure, that’s for sure, but then for Federer it might be his last chance.” (Editing by: Toby Davis)last_img read more